THE Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) warns all Canadians to beware of telephone calls, mail, or email that claim to be from the CRA but are not. These are phishing scams that could result in identity thefts. Email scams may also contain embedded malware, or malicious software, that can harm your computer and put your personal information at risk. The CRA does not email Canadians to request personal information.
Canadians should especially beware of phishing scams asking for their personal information, such as social insurance, credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. Some of these scams ask for this personal information directly, and others refer the taxpayer to a web site resembling the CRA’s where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information.
Examples of recent email scams that have been circulating include notifications to taxpayers that they are entitled to a refund of a specific amount such as $521.51 or $671.08; or informing taxpayers that their tax assessment has been verified and they are eligible to receive a tax refund. These emails are not from the CRA.
To better equip taxpayers to identify possible scams, the following guidelines should be used:
The CRA does not do the following:
* The CRA never requests, by email, personal information of any kind from a taxpayer.
* The CRA will never request information from a taxpayer pertaining to a passport, health card, or driver’s license.
* The CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
* The CRA will not leave any personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
* Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
* Does this sound too good to be true?
* Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
* Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
* How did the requester get my email address?
* Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
The CRA has well-established practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada’s tax system. For more information about security of taxpayer information and other examples of fraudulent communications, go to www.cra.gc.ca/security.
Anyone who receives a suspicious communication should immediately report it to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the institution that the communication appears to be from.
For information on scams, to report deceptive telemarketing, and if personal or financial information has been unwittingly provided, go to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Web page at: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/phishing-eng.htm.